PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) — A lunch dish served up by Portland Public Schools has been recognized as one of the best in the U.S.
A Yakisoba plate served district-wide in May was named the top pasta dish served at schools by Food Management, a news organization dedicated to noncommercial food service.
The yakisoba lunch includes locally made noodles with chicken and shredded cabbage, all served in a yakisoba sauce.
This meal, along with all PPS meals, comes with unlimited fruits and vegetables that rotate seasonally.
The yakisoba lunch plate originally started as part of cultural lunch at Richmond Elementary School, which hosts annual or twice-a-year Japanese lunches.
Richmond is the district’s Japanese immersion school, where students learn in both English and Japanese.
“We found it was so popular and successful in our kitchens and operations that we decided to try and make it happen district-wide,” said Whitney Ellersick, Senior Director of Nutrition Services.
Before yakisoba could be added to the rotation, PPS had to find a noodle that would comply with the United States Department of Agriculture’s nutritional guidelines, a requirement because the USDA funds school meals in PPS. That meant the noodles had to be 50% grain rich.
Umi Organic created the noodle recipe that includes a combination of Durum and Edison wheat from Camas County Mill in Junction City. Because PPS kitchens primarily cook with ovens, the noodles had to be able to withstand that heat, and Umi found a combination of boiling and chilling in making the noodles that allowed them to be prepared in an oven on lunch day.
Umi CEO Lola Milholland actually attended Richmond as part of the second group of Japanese immersion classes.
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